Darren Kuropatwa posted a video yesterday that challenged me to think about whom is most responsible for our…

Darren Kuropatwa posted a video yesterday that challenged me to think about whom is most responsible for our learning in this course (or any other MOOC). This was my response.

If you want to check out the original video (shot at #educon ) featuring 3 other amazing educators, here is the link to that too: #WhileWalking 69: MOOC Musings from #EduCon 2.5

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MT1hwljWvA

36 Comments

  1. Just as we want to give students more responsibility for their learning, as learners we also have to do likewise. I think we have to cut our own slices and go from there. We each have to set our own goals and  decide on the strategies we need to try to get there. We will all take something different out of this MOOC. Lack of empowerment is self-imposed.

    I’ve often thought teachers expect behaviours from students that they don’t do themselves. How many teachers write, read (or for that matter – sit still without talking for far too long), reflect? 

  2. Just as we want to give students more responsibility for their learning, as learners we also have to do likewise. I think we have to cut our own slices and go from there. We each have to set our own goals and  decide on the strategies we need to try to get there. We will all take something different out of this MOOC. Lack of empowerment is self-imposed.

    I’ve often thought teachers expect behaviours from students that they don’t do themselves. How many teachers write, read (or for that matter – sit still without talking for far too long), reflect? 

  3. Just as we want to give students more responsibility for their learning, as learners we also have to do likewise. I think we have to cut our own slices and go from there. We each have to set our own goals and  decide on the strategies we need to try to get there. We will all take something different out of this MOOC. Lack of empowerment is self-imposed.

    I’ve often thought teachers expect behaviours from students that they don’t do themselves. How many teachers write, read (or for that matter – sit still without talking for far too long), reflect? 

  4. Benjamin, Your response seems right on. I reflect on my experience with the  #change11  mooc. In the course of  the 35-week-long mooc, I had some weeks that I expected to really be enthralling and important and they weren’t. I wouldn’t fault the “teaching.” On those occasions, I read more deeply about other topics that had intrigued me and I always had participant-created content to mine for reading or potential connections, and conversations. During other weeks, topics and concepts I didn’t expect to matter much to me drove me to think, blog, respond, read and share. I immersed myself if the content and the conversations those weeks. My interest-powered digging in the distributed content created by the facilitators and a network of learners resulted in powerful learning.

  5. Benjamin, Your response seems right on. I reflect on my experience with the  #change11  mooc. In the course of  the 35-week-long mooc, I had some weeks that I expected to really be enthralling and important and they weren’t. I wouldn’t fault the “teaching.” On those occasions, I read more deeply about other topics that had intrigued me and I always had participant-created content to mine for reading or potential connections, and conversations. During other weeks, topics and concepts I didn’t expect to matter much to me drove me to think, blog, respond, read and share. I immersed myself if the content and the conversations those weeks. My interest-powered digging in the distributed content created by the facilitators and a network of learners resulted in powerful learning.

  6. Benjamin, Your response seems right on. I reflect on my experience with the  #change11  mooc. In the course of  the 35-week-long mooc, I had some weeks that I expected to really be enthralling and important and they weren’t. I wouldn’t fault the “teaching.” On those occasions, I read more deeply about other topics that had intrigued me and I always had participant-created content to mine for reading or potential connections, and conversations. During other weeks, topics and concepts I didn’t expect to matter much to me drove me to think, blog, respond, read and share. I immersed myself if the content and the conversations those weeks. My interest-powered digging in the distributed content created by the facilitators and a network of learners resulted in powerful learning.

  7. I agree with you on the responsibility we all have for own learning. I have attended classes where the teachers were not very good, but where I leant a lot; instead of complaining about the lack of teaching quality in the course, I just went home and read, study, discuss with others and learnt what I wanted to learn. I was really motivated and no bad teachers could put me off that.

    However, I think that the way the courses are organized or structured may encourage or not the learner to take his own responsibility and decide what, when, how and with whom to learn. Learning to learn takes time, new skills and a change of attitude. Don´t you think the way the courses (I am talking not just about moocs) are structured influence a great deal the way people see themselves and their approach to learning.

  8. I agree with you on the responsibility we all have for own learning. I have attended classes where the teachers were not very good, but where I leant a lot; instead of complaining about the lack of teaching quality in the course, I just went home and read, study, discuss with others and learnt what I wanted to learn. I was really motivated and no bad teachers could put me off that.

    However, I think that the way the courses are organized or structured may encourage or not the learner to take his own responsibility and decide what, when, how and with whom to learn. Learning to learn takes time, new skills and a change of attitude. Don´t you think the way the courses (I am talking not just about moocs) are structured influence a great deal the way people see themselves and their approach to learning.

  9. I agree with you on the responsibility we all have for own learning. I have attended classes where the teachers were not very good, but where I leant a lot; instead of complaining about the lack of teaching quality in the course, I just went home and read, study, discuss with others and learnt what I wanted to learn. I was really motivated and no bad teachers could put me off that.

    However, I think that the way the courses are organized or structured may encourage or not the learner to take his own responsibility and decide what, when, how and with whom to learn. Learning to learn takes time, new skills and a change of attitude. Don´t you think the way the courses (I am talking not just about moocs) are structured influence a great deal the way people see themselves and their approach to learning.

  10. Man, these are some really great comments. 

    Susan van Gelder I love the idea that lack of empowerment is self-imposed. Particularly in this format, the empowerment comes from engaging in the content, whatever you decide the content to be. 

    One of my favorite all-time moments of a professional learning experience was when Bud Hunt was giving a keynote. He asked everyone in the auditorium to spend 5 minutes writing, and he wrote too. This wasn’t a workshop. It was the keynote for a conference. He believes in the power of reflection that much, and I guess I do too.

    Susan Spellman Cann Thank you for your kind words. You should vlog with us over in this community if you have an inclination to do so: https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/116395158372553895482

    I think most of us agree that there are choices to be made in this course, but as I read more blog posts, I am finding that many people are afraid they are making the “wrong” choices and missing out on something. I think we have to let go of that idea that there is a “wrong” choice in learning (at least in this arena). 

    Joe Dillon 35 weeks for a course is crazy long. I’m not sure I would have been able to make it, but I am really glad that you did. Your learning from that course is clearly still driving a lot of your collaboration to this day, which I think is a testament to your empowered and authentic learning approach.

    Gallit Zvi Yeah, sorry about that one. I’ll bring some pie around next time.

    Juan Fernandez I absolutely think that the teaching within a course and the structure of the course itself matters a great deal. Poor teaching leads to poor engagement and poor structure doesn’t show the true possibilities inherent in a learning experience. 

    I think that balance is that as an “empowered learner”, I know how to get the most out of any learning experience. That isn’t the case for many spaces, which is why it is so important to be talking about how we can provide those opportunities to create more empowered learners and more teachers that can show learners how to take full advantage. 

    It makes our responsibility for creating something outside of our own network even more urgent. How do we make sure that learners are empowered and teachers see open opportunities?

  11. Man, these are some really great comments. 

    Susan van Gelder I love the idea that lack of empowerment is self-imposed. Particularly in this format, the empowerment comes from engaging in the content, whatever you decide the content to be. 

    One of my favorite all-time moments of a professional learning experience was when Bud Hunt was giving a keynote. He asked everyone in the auditorium to spend 5 minutes writing, and he wrote too. This wasn’t a workshop. It was the keynote for a conference. He believes in the power of reflection that much, and I guess I do too.

    Susan Spellman Cann Thank you for your kind words. You should vlog with us over in this community if you have an inclination to do so: https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/116395158372553895482

    I think most of us agree that there are choices to be made in this course, but as I read more blog posts, I am finding that many people are afraid they are making the “wrong” choices and missing out on something. I think we have to let go of that idea that there is a “wrong” choice in learning (at least in this arena). 

    Joe Dillon 35 weeks for a course is crazy long. I’m not sure I would have been able to make it, but I am really glad that you did. Your learning from that course is clearly still driving a lot of your collaboration to this day, which I think is a testament to your empowered and authentic learning approach.

    Gallit Zvi Yeah, sorry about that one. I’ll bring some pie around next time.

    Juan Fernandez I absolutely think that the teaching within a course and the structure of the course itself matters a great deal. Poor teaching leads to poor engagement and poor structure doesn’t show the true possibilities inherent in a learning experience. 

    I think that balance is that as an “empowered learner”, I know how to get the most out of any learning experience. That isn’t the case for many spaces, which is why it is so important to be talking about how we can provide those opportunities to create more empowered learners and more teachers that can show learners how to take full advantage. 

    It makes our responsibility for creating something outside of our own network even more urgent. How do we make sure that learners are empowered and teachers see open opportunities?

  12. Man, these are some really great comments. 

    Susan van Gelder I love the idea that lack of empowerment is self-imposed. Particularly in this format, the empowerment comes from engaging in the content, whatever you decide the content to be. 

    One of my favorite all-time moments of a professional learning experience was when Bud Hunt was giving a keynote. He asked everyone in the auditorium to spend 5 minutes writing, and he wrote too. This wasn’t a workshop. It was the keynote for a conference. He believes in the power of reflection that much, and I guess I do too.

    Susan Spellman Cann Thank you for your kind words. You should vlog with us over in this community if you have an inclination to do so: https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/116395158372553895482

    I think most of us agree that there are choices to be made in this course, but as I read more blog posts, I am finding that many people are afraid they are making the “wrong” choices and missing out on something. I think we have to let go of that idea that there is a “wrong” choice in learning (at least in this arena). 

    Joe Dillon 35 weeks for a course is crazy long. I’m not sure I would have been able to make it, but I am really glad that you did. Your learning from that course is clearly still driving a lot of your collaboration to this day, which I think is a testament to your empowered and authentic learning approach.

    Gallit Zvi Yeah, sorry about that one. I’ll bring some pie around next time.

    Juan Fernandez I absolutely think that the teaching within a course and the structure of the course itself matters a great deal. Poor teaching leads to poor engagement and poor structure doesn’t show the true possibilities inherent in a learning experience. 

    I think that balance is that as an “empowered learner”, I know how to get the most out of any learning experience. That isn’t the case for many spaces, which is why it is so important to be talking about how we can provide those opportunities to create more empowered learners and more teachers that can show learners how to take full advantage. 

    It makes our responsibility for creating something outside of our own network even more urgent. How do we make sure that learners are empowered and teachers see open opportunities?

  13. This is a great discussion. I’d like to pick up the thread about teachers not doing what they ask students to do. This is true. We need to be readers and share our reading lives with our kids. We need to be writers and share our writing with our kids. What I think we have to keep in mind is that whatever we do (for good or for bad) the students reflect it back to us. 

    The other point is about knowing ourselves as learners and being empowered as learners. Our ability to monitor our learning comes from the process of metacognition. Those of us who can manage our own slice of learning are metacognitive whether we know it or not. I have blogged about metacognition at 

    http://juliebalen.weebly.com/2/post/2013/01/how-metacognitive-are-you.html

    Check it out and let me know if this jives with your thinking. 

  14. This is a great discussion. I’d like to pick up the thread about teachers not doing what they ask students to do. This is true. We need to be readers and share our reading lives with our kids. We need to be writers and share our writing with our kids. What I think we have to keep in mind is that whatever we do (for good or for bad) the students reflect it back to us. 

    The other point is about knowing ourselves as learners and being empowered as learners. Our ability to monitor our learning comes from the process of metacognition. Those of us who can manage our own slice of learning are metacognitive whether we know it or not. I have blogged about metacognition at 

    http://juliebalen.weebly.com/2/post/2013/01/how-metacognitive-are-you.html

    Check it out and let me know if this jives with your thinking. 

  15. This is a great discussion. I’d like to pick up the thread about teachers not doing what they ask students to do. This is true. We need to be readers and share our reading lives with our kids. We need to be writers and share our writing with our kids. What I think we have to keep in mind is that whatever we do (for good or for bad) the students reflect it back to us. 

    The other point is about knowing ourselves as learners and being empowered as learners. Our ability to monitor our learning comes from the process of metacognition. Those of us who can manage our own slice of learning are metacognitive whether we know it or not. I have blogged about metacognition at 

    http://juliebalen.weebly.com/2/post/2013/01/how-metacognitive-are-you.html

    Check it out and let me know if this jives with your thinking. 

  16. I agree – which is why teaching metacognition is so important. Reflective portfolios (not just showcases) for learning are a step in that direction.

    Helping students set goals and strategies to reach those goals is important as is examining those strategies and seeing they were good ones. And we have to model this process. We are all constantly learning  – we have to model learning to students.

  17. I agree – which is why teaching metacognition is so important. Reflective portfolios (not just showcases) for learning are a step in that direction.

    Helping students set goals and strategies to reach those goals is important as is examining those strategies and seeing they were good ones. And we have to model this process. We are all constantly learning  – we have to model learning to students.

  18. I agree – which is why teaching metacognition is so important. Reflective portfolios (not just showcases) for learning are a step in that direction.

    Helping students set goals and strategies to reach those goals is important as is examining those strategies and seeing they were good ones. And we have to model this process. We are all constantly learning  – we have to model learning to students.

  19. Julie A.C. Balen, so are you saying that we should be conscious of our meta-cognition so that we can manage our slices better? Your blog post is really great at not only describing why metacognition is so important, but also for providing resources that let you get there.

    Susan van Gelder I’m not sure that most learners see processes as something that need to be monitored or reflected upon. As in, “I write, but I don’t think about how I write” or “I read, but I don’t think about how I read.” Not realizing that those things are processes that can be good or improved upon is something that gets us into destructive cycles where students feel unempowered and destined for failure.

  20. Julie A.C. Balen, so are you saying that we should be conscious of our meta-cognition so that we can manage our slices better? Your blog post is really great at not only describing why metacognition is so important, but also for providing resources that let you get there.

    Susan van Gelder I’m not sure that most learners see processes as something that need to be monitored or reflected upon. As in, “I write, but I don’t think about how I write” or “I read, but I don’t think about how I read.” Not realizing that those things are processes that can be good or improved upon is something that gets us into destructive cycles where students feel unempowered and destined for failure.

  21. Julie A.C. Balen, so are you saying that we should be conscious of our meta-cognition so that we can manage our slices better? Your blog post is really great at not only describing why metacognition is so important, but also for providing resources that let you get there.

    Susan van Gelder I’m not sure that most learners see processes as something that need to be monitored or reflected upon. As in, “I write, but I don’t think about how I write” or “I read, but I don’t think about how I read.” Not realizing that those things are processes that can be good or improved upon is something that gets us into destructive cycles where students feel unempowered and destined for failure.

  22. Nodding.

    We can operate on autopilot as long as everything is going well. If I understand what I am reading, what I need to write about or how I need to write, then metacognition idles in the background. It is when we struggle that the metacognitive process jumps into gear. In the etmooc context, you made reference to people struggling with the volume of information, number of voices, and the speed of transmission. Choosing a slice of learning makes sense, but that understanding and that decision is part of the metacognitive process, yours in fact. It is a good strategy, and it is useful to share it out with others, who may also find it useful, but some may not be able to adopt it because as you said to Susan van Gelder above, they many not realize “that those things are processes that can be go or improved uopn.” When Dave Cormier tells us that some students have trouble in his open syllabus course because they don’t know when to stop, indeed they don’t know how to stop because they are so well trained by the system to jump through every hoop, to do that one more thing for a better grade, we realize that in fact the lack of metacognitive awareness can be destructive. 

    But we, teachers and parents, don’t take the time, everyday, to ensure that our young learners practice being metacognitive. Kids wait to be told they are doing well via praise or marks. They rely on an ‘authority’ to inform their work-what to do, how much, when to do it, etc. 

    Sorry to have go on and on…it’s just that I think we need to go deeper in our understanding of the learning process than the constant refrain of ‘connect, comment, and share’ that is repeated throughout the etmooc.

  23. Nodding.

    We can operate on autopilot as long as everything is going well. If I understand what I am reading, what I need to write about or how I need to write, then metacognition idles in the background. It is when we struggle that the metacognitive process jumps into gear. In the etmooc context, you made reference to people struggling with the volume of information, number of voices, and the speed of transmission. Choosing a slice of learning makes sense, but that understanding and that decision is part of the metacognitive process, yours in fact. It is a good strategy, and it is useful to share it out with others, who may also find it useful, but some may not be able to adopt it because as you said to Susan van Gelder above, they many not realize “that those things are processes that can be go or improved uopn.” When Dave Cormier tells us that some students have trouble in his open syllabus course because they don’t know when to stop, indeed they don’t know how to stop because they are so well trained by the system to jump through every hoop, to do that one more thing for a better grade, we realize that in fact the lack of metacognitive awareness can be destructive. 

    But we, teachers and parents, don’t take the time, everyday, to ensure that our young learners practice being metacognitive. Kids wait to be told they are doing well via praise or marks. They rely on an ‘authority’ to inform their work-what to do, how much, when to do it, etc. 

    Sorry to have go on and on…it’s just that I think we need to go deeper in our understanding of the learning process than the constant refrain of ‘connect, comment, and share’ that is repeated throughout the etmooc.

  24. Nodding.

    We can operate on autopilot as long as everything is going well. If I understand what I am reading, what I need to write about or how I need to write, then metacognition idles in the background. It is when we struggle that the metacognitive process jumps into gear. In the etmooc context, you made reference to people struggling with the volume of information, number of voices, and the speed of transmission. Choosing a slice of learning makes sense, but that understanding and that decision is part of the metacognitive process, yours in fact. It is a good strategy, and it is useful to share it out with others, who may also find it useful, but some may not be able to adopt it because as you said to Susan van Gelder above, they many not realize “that those things are processes that can be go or improved uopn.” When Dave Cormier tells us that some students have trouble in his open syllabus course because they don’t know when to stop, indeed they don’t know how to stop because they are so well trained by the system to jump through every hoop, to do that one more thing for a better grade, we realize that in fact the lack of metacognitive awareness can be destructive. 

    But we, teachers and parents, don’t take the time, everyday, to ensure that our young learners practice being metacognitive. Kids wait to be told they are doing well via praise or marks. They rely on an ‘authority’ to inform their work-what to do, how much, when to do it, etc. 

    Sorry to have go on and on…it’s just that I think we need to go deeper in our understanding of the learning process than the constant refrain of ‘connect, comment, and share’ that is repeated throughout the etmooc.

  25. Benjamin Wilkoff No learners don’t naturally monitor their processes, but we need to help students develop those reflective skills. This just came my way from Lisa Parisi (My students are finally able to write about how they improve reading skills. http://kidblog.org/DentonDynamos/tag/weekly-book-summary/  The students are developing strategies to help them become better readers and are articulating those strategies.

    When we learn to drive we monitor every aspect of what we are doing. Eventually these processes become fluid. Same with learning anything else and the more we have a suitcase full of strategies that we are aware of, the more we can approach new learning.

  26. Benjamin Wilkoff No learners don’t naturally monitor their processes, but we need to help students develop those reflective skills. This just came my way from Lisa Parisi (My students are finally able to write about how they improve reading skills. http://kidblog.org/DentonDynamos/tag/weekly-book-summary/  The students are developing strategies to help them become better readers and are articulating those strategies.

    When we learn to drive we monitor every aspect of what we are doing. Eventually these processes become fluid. Same with learning anything else and the more we have a suitcase full of strategies that we are aware of, the more we can approach new learning.

  27. Benjamin Wilkoff No learners don’t naturally monitor their processes, but we need to help students develop those reflective skills. This just came my way from Lisa Parisi (My students are finally able to write about how they improve reading skills. http://kidblog.org/DentonDynamos/tag/weekly-book-summary/  The students are developing strategies to help them become better readers and are articulating those strategies.

    When we learn to drive we monitor every aspect of what we are doing. Eventually these processes become fluid. Same with learning anything else and the more we have a suitcase full of strategies that we are aware of, the more we can approach new learning.

  28. Julie A.C. Balen Your idea of it being “destructive” to not engage in or be aware of metacognitive processes really resonates. If you struggle to think about your learning, it is hard to know when you are learning at all. To not know what real learning feels like, to not know what true collaboration looks like, those are the elements I fear the most. It is when learners can get convinced that they don’t “have what it takes” or that “learning isn’t for them” because they start to see learning as compliance with the teacher. Thank you for your thinking on this one.

    Susan van Gelder Pushing out past our comfortable learning space, though, is definitely something that takes some getting used to. I like how you are encouraging your kids to do so.

  29. Julie A.C. Balen Your idea of it being “destructive” to not engage in or be aware of metacognitive processes really resonates. If you struggle to think about your learning, it is hard to know when you are learning at all. To not know what real learning feels like, to not know what true collaboration looks like, those are the elements I fear the most. It is when learners can get convinced that they don’t “have what it takes” or that “learning isn’t for them” because they start to see learning as compliance with the teacher. Thank you for your thinking on this one.

    Susan van Gelder Pushing out past our comfortable learning space, though, is definitely something that takes some getting used to. I like how you are encouraging your kids to do so.

  30. Julie A.C. Balen Your idea of it being “destructive” to not engage in or be aware of metacognitive processes really resonates. If you struggle to think about your learning, it is hard to know when you are learning at all. To not know what real learning feels like, to not know what true collaboration looks like, those are the elements I fear the most. It is when learners can get convinced that they don’t “have what it takes” or that “learning isn’t for them” because they start to see learning as compliance with the teacher. Thank you for your thinking on this one.

    Susan van Gelder Pushing out past our comfortable learning space, though, is definitely something that takes some getting used to. I like how you are encouraging your kids to do so.

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